back to article Musos blast US copyright bods: 'ARTISTS MAKE LOUSY SLAVES!'

The workings of the US Copyright Office rarely provoke a smile let alone a laugh, so brace yourself for this. The agency is shuffling some of its rules, thrown its doors open to the public for comment, and has been livened up by possibly the best submission ever made to any quango. The office is inviting responses to changes …


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  1. Sandpit


    Does this mean that when some average person is fined $8000 per track for illegally downloading a song, that money doesn't go to the artist?!!

    1. Tapeador

      Re: Wait...

      The fact you think that at all important tells me artists' incomes, jobs, prospects, and likewise those of people who those artists freely choose to appoint to work to support and enable them, are not really on your mind...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not on my mind at all

        They chose their career path, it's up to them to work out how to make money from it.

  2. hitmouse

    I make candles while living in a small shoebox box in t'middle of t'road

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      When I were a lad we didn't even have t'shoebox...

    2. Richard 81

      Shoebox?!? Get a load of His Majesty living in a shoebox!

      I'd sell my left knee to live in a shoebox!

      1. Jon Double Nice


        Knees? I would dream of having knees...

        1. hitmouse

          Re: Knees?

          Sorry, Apple has patented them already. It was their most successful attempt at putting competitors out of joint.

    3. Andrew Moore


    4. John G Imrie

      Thy where lucky mate!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ai it be...when I were young we were lucky if we had a left knee....

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          And the porblem with kids today

          is that if you tell'em they don't believe a word of what you're sayin'

        2. Great Bu

          Knees ?

          I'll wager your knees were never sliced off by a falling mainmast........

          1. PT

            Too Silly

            Stop! This thread has become Too Silly. No more Yorkshiremen. Bring on the skating vicars.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    What is there to cherish

    Confused shock-jock language from addled minds, with the obligatory "occupy"?


    1. Juan Inamillion

      Re: What is there to cherish

      Hmm... Never mind the language, this is Michelle Shocked.

      I'd say you have no experience or concept of how a musician/songwriter is supposed to make a living. The very first step is to sign a publishing contract, in which you immediately give up 50% of your income to the publishers. It's only 50% because it's illegal for the publishers to demand more....

      It's downhill from there...

      1. Aldous

        Re: What is there to cherish

        Welcome to the real world.....

        You should see the amount of difference between the price i get payed for technical work vs the price my company charges to the end customer. If i got 50% of that i would be laughing, even 25% would be very nice.

        Don't like the rules, don't play the game or change it. Being half in and out and then whining about it gets no sympathy. Maybe someone should read these "artists" some history so they can see its only in the last hundred years or so one could be an Artist as a full time profession without the patronage of rich people (AKA the 1% etc OCCUPY!) or doing a side job.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What is there to cherish

          > Maybe someone should read these "artists" some history so they can see its only in the last hundred years or so one could be an Artist as a full time profession without the patronage of rich people (AKA the 1% etc OCCUPY!) or doing a side job.

          AFAICT the only thing that changed was that artists' patrons became rich corporations, rather than rich individuals. Most artists, even today, do get by on a "side" job.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Re: What is there to cherish

          A hundred years or so ago infant mortality was about 20% in manufacturing towns in England and women could not vote. Does that make it OK now?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: infant mortality and voting rights

            you seem to have failed to grasp that he was saying that things are BETTER now ... so the fact that compared to 100 years ago, infants and women have it BETTER now means that YES, it IS OKAY now for infants to have modern reduced mortality and women to have modern voting rights, and for artists to have modern publishing contracts that guarantee them at least some income if their works ever sell (just to be clear, just because one produces something does not mean that that particular something sells in the first place ... many many people who purport to be "artists" don't produce anything that I'd *ever* be willing to pay for, so I don't need to hear any of their whingeing about not getting any money from their worthless contracts for their concomitantly worthless "art")

        3. Fatman

          Re: Don't like the rules, don't play the game or change it.

          Which is not that hard - be your own publisher!!!!.

          IIRC, many black jazz artists were their own publishers (Coltrane comes to mind), having collectively learned that record companiesthe man is out to screw you.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: What is there to cherish

        > I'd say you have no experience or concept of how a musician/songwriter is supposed to make a living.

        As a musician, I can say that you get paid to play. Just once. Not forever.

        As a songwriter, you get paid to write songs. Just once. Not forever.

        The trick is to keep working, not doing a bit of work then sitting on your arse for the next few years.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What is there to cherish

          Bollocks. Somebody is going to make money from all the copies of a a song sold. Why shouldn't it be the song writers, artists and producers? You're proposing that the song writer gets paid a negligible amount up front, (what publisher is going to pay big money if the song isn't a guaranteed hit?) and then the publisher makes all the real money when the song becomes popular. This is the kind of crap we want to avoid, tales of creative types being paid a few dollars for a song only for the publisher to then go on and make millions from it.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What is there to cherish

        I lose 50% of my income to government in the form of taxes. Two income taxes (fed and state) sales taxes on the fuel I need to get to work, licensing fees and taxes on my vehicle, taxes on my communication, taxes on the apartment I rent (which gets passed on to me each month)

        Waaah, 'artists'.

        when ya make it big it's all "I'm better than you cuz I earned all this!!" and when you suck, it's "blame the record company/copyrightoffice/stupid unwashed public doesn't appreciate" etc.

        It was a long way to the top if you wanna rock'n'roll decades ago. If you didn't heed the warnings whilst driving in a ganga-infused Econoline instead of getting a degree or job skills, toof**kingbad.

        REAL artists know what they were in for, and take it as part of the trials needed to get anywhere. They know it will always be a lifetime of busting @ss, just like the rest of us wage slaves, only they produce a different service. to them, respect and assistance on keeping from being taken advantage of by cheats and liars.

        Most of those cheats, interestingly enough, are the rich iPad and camera toting fair weather Occupy denizens-the real artists are too busy bussing tables or cleaning cars for gas money to play-protest.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is there to cherish

      You need to read the original as a critical part was omitted above. I'll put it here: "So here are a few slogans and threats, to make your eyes roll and dismiss another lunatic:". The "occupy" stuff is explicitly taking the piss in other words.

    3. Herbalicious

      Re: What is there to cherish

      The "Occupy" reference refers to Michelle Shocked's involvement with the Occupy Movement (namely Occupy LA, Occupy Fights Foreclosures, and Strike Debt) beginning in October of 2011 when the movement began. She's been an active participant in the Occupy movement when she wasn't touring. She's drawing comparisons between the corruption the occupy movement fights to the corruption in the copyright and music world.

  4. Keith 21

    " I will boycott this system of exploitation and my work will be only available through underground means. "

    Bleats Ms Johnston.

    Thank heavens for small mercies, at least we'll be spared any more of her moronic self-righteous pathetic bilgewater - seems there is much benefit in the current system after all!

    1. Knowledge

      yeah but...

      for every "self-righteous moron" that you are spared, three more will be created for you by Disney.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Blimey, that's a blast from the past. Isn't Michelle Shocked that ultra worthy and self-righteous singer from the 1980s? A sort of female Billy Bragg, although probably without the mansion in Essex.

      1. Justice

        Female Billy Bragg?

        I thought that would have been Kirsty MacColl... but without the speedboat.

  5. A J Stiles

    Artists have a choice

    They know (or they should know, by now) that they aren't going to get paid as much for their art as the old-fashioned publishers led them to expect in the days before recordable CDs and huge HDDs.

    They could always just do something else instead.

    1. John Lilburne

      Re: Artists have a choice

      Yeah I bought 100 old Blues tracks for £2.50 yesterday. We don't need no more stinking music. Pull down the shutters.

  6. Andrew Moore
    Thumb Down

    The Artist's themselves are kinda too blame... seems that most artists are only in the industry hoping that a record label will drive a huge dump truck full of money and tip it onto their front lawn.

    And then there are the 'artists'; in which case it's the managers that are hoping a record label will drive a huge dump truck of money...

    1. Herbalicious

      Re: The Artist's themselves are kinda too blame...

      I don't think that applies to Michelle Shocked. The Record company she was once on offered her a lot of money for her to give up her rights to the music she created. She choose to keep the rights to her music instead of taking the money they were offering her.

      Michelle isn't hoping for anything from the record labels. She already fully independent from them.

      1. Andrew Moore

        Re: The Artist's themselves are kinda too blame...

        True- there is always an exception to the rule (Billy Bragg also comes to mind). The downside is the 'artists with integrity' percentage is so low that it doesn't even feature as a blip on the record labels yearly profit forecasts.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Artist's themselves are kinda too blame...

          If independent artists didn't have to compete with massive publishing cartels perhaps they afford to have 'integrity'. As it is most would rather sell out and not starve.

  7. Carl Zetie

    Angered down in Anchorage

    Is it just me or do most Web 2.0 businesses rely on somebody else not getting paid for providing content?

    1. John Lilburne

      Re: Angered down in Anchorage

      And not paying taxes.

    2. Andrew Moore

      Re: Angered down in Anchorage

      Certainly appears to be the mindset of the head guy at Pandora:

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Angered down in Anchorage

      I'm still waiting for the paycheck from el'reg

  8. Combustable Lemon

    The way to do it...

    Distribute your music for free via the internet, assault youtube, etc.

    Then tour and charge money for that, make your money through live performances. I think these days the profit in this method is probably comparable to the usual method. (Although i will concede that this means you are actually good and don't just get rammed down the throats of the masses via repetative radio play..)

    This isn't really about making a living, this is more about not being able to live in a mansion and have 17 cars, welcome to the rest of the world.

    1. John Lilburne

      Re: The way to do it...

      What percentage of musicians make money from touring, and what percentage of their income is made up from touring receipts? I think you've been told porkies if you think that touring is the answer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The way to do it...

        I suspect the answers to this are "essentially none of them do" and "in the brave new world where people will no longer pay for records, it is essentially their entire income". Connecting these two is left as an exercise.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: The way to do it...

      Ah indeed... recorded music as advertising for live gigs -- excellent idea. These live gigs certainly need all the advertising they can get, as they are the artists' main means of promoting their recorded music. So let's build a perpetual motion merry-go-round of advertising adverts for adverts advertising adverts of adverts.

      2. ????

      3. PROFIT!

    3. breakfast Silver badge

      Re: The way to do it...

      If you're not a musician and you haven't tried this, then your opinion regarding it is probably worthless, but suffice to say the money involved is nothing close to commensurate. Even playing for a signed band touring medium sized venues, you are going to be hard pressed to make much of a living without record receipts. Or with them for that matter.

      It's not about mansions, it's about a living wage. If nobody is willing to pay for professional musicians then all the musicians will have to be amateurs. Music and audiences who enjoy it will suffer as a consequence.

      1. genghis_uk

        Re: The way to do it...

        As someone who has tried it, the thought of becoming self sufficient through gigs is laughable let alone actually getting rich from them. The number of venues is getting smaller by the week and the amount they have to pay is being cut as they try to scrape a profit.

        The live tour used to be essentially a loss maker to promote the album at one point. At best a break even with merchandising added in. Now this is seen as the main income...

        1. Mike Brown

          Re: The way to do it...

          your not ment to get rich from music. Your already doing something you supposidly love, so as long as you live to a reasonable standard then you should be happy.

    4. DJ Particle

      Re: The way to do it...

      Worked for Jonathan Coulton (song-a-week project)...

  9. Crisp

    Sigh. What are artists all angst ridden about now?

    Their own industry!

    Well if you're going to get into bed with the devil, you can expect a pitchfork in the tuchus.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Richard 81

      So that's where all these down votes came from.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'd never heard of her before this. Brb! I'm off to download her back catalogue at TPB :)

    3. Herbalicious

      Did she really get offended at your tweet? Did she really accuse you of bootlegging? I've been helping Michelle learn twitter for the last week or so and I've been searching out the mentions of her to see what is being said by her fans, so she can connect with them more. Twitter is new to her and she just learning how to reply and retweet her fans.

      Could it just have been that she was responding to what she thought was a fan?

      I do remember she offered to send someone a copy of an out of print version of Short, Sharp, Shocked (SSS) because someone mentioned they would burn it for a friend since the album is out of stock. However, I had been at Michelle's place the day before and we were going over what merchandise she still had since 2013 is the 25 year anniversary of SSS and we're working on a strategic plan.

  11. Paul Shirley

    "hardly inconvenience the big operator"

    If it doesn't inconvenience the large sharks feeding/ripping off artists what's the point?

    1. Robert Helpmann??

      Re: "hardly inconvenience the big operator"

      Well, if it is not perceived as doing so, the big operators are not likely to attempt to block it. If it also offers useful alternatives for the artists and their fans to choose from, It might also create a worthwhile change for both. Not that I am holding my breath...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in a world with X-Factor and Britains Got Talent

    Where people are prepared to sign their lives away for fame, and morons are prepared to pay to vote for it and buy its output, then these artists and consumers get everything they deserve. Simon Cowell is everything that is wrong with the music industry (ps supermodel girlfriends - you're trying a bit too hard)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a one time musician with a few recordings in the 80's I can safely say that the only time I ever got paid was for live work. Sale of recordings netted the band zero.

    Copyright as it stands is dead in the water. It's time for a new business model where the recordings are advertising; special editions and 'hard copy' will sell in significant amounts for some time to come (for instance I baulk at buying a download for more than a physical CD, which I still find is good value and I actually own a THING), so get over it music industry.

    As for photography, which is what I do now, I consider anything I post on the web to be gratis to the world. I get paid for commissions from clients, what happens to stuff after that might get me some more direct business but I sure as hell don't expect to get rich even if by some fluke I do manage to produce the 'iconic' photograph that hitherto would have guaranteed a lifetime of easy comfort.

    So fellow musicians and creatives - get a grip - the world of mansions and limos is coming to an end, you'll have to work for your livings from some point very near in the future . .

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